As record snow falls, Bostonians’ app usage climbs

According to CNN, February has just entered into the record books as the snowiest month in Boston’s history.

How did you spend those snow days? Did you venture outside? Did you overcome your boredom with a little personal shopping? Were you curled up with a good book?

According to our data, Boston residents spent much of the time doing all of the above via their apps, with usage up by as much as 30% on days of heavy snow.

 

App Usage up 30% on Snow Days

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In the above chart, Boston experienced heavy snowfall for each day highlighted in orange. Compared to a 30 day baseline from January 15th to February 15th, these snow days experienced increased app usage by almost 30% overall. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, on the days that local colleges closed, apps experienced their highest levels of usage - Thursday January 27th, Monday February 2nd, and Monday February 9th. But exactly which apps were being used on these days?

 

Personal Shopping Sees 37% Increased Traffic on Snow Days

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To no one’s surprise, the number one app category used during these snow days were weather apps, up by 46% from the baseline. Frequent up-to-the-minute weather updates are important for the brave souls trekking out into the snow, and there’s no better digital media suited for real-time updates than mobile apps.

Number two on the list was retail apps, such as eBay and Free People, which saw a 37% increase from the baseline. Just because your brick and mortar store is closed due to snow doesn’t mean you need to lose out on valuable business. With people primarily stuck in their homes, companies that do not have a good mobile presence during intense weather conditions miss out on valuable business. Being stuck inside gives people ample time to do personal shopping, and retail apps should take note and offer promotions and discounts specifically catered to capture this heavy traffic.

Photography apps saw a 37% increase in normal usage, likely as people ventured outside and took pictures of the various landscapes (either to remember the beauty snow can bring or show their out-of-town friends just how ridiculous the snowbanks are).

Books and news apps saw a 30% and 25% increase in usage respectively, as people trapped indoors sought reading to cure boredom.

Gaming apps (not pictured) would have been #6 on the list with a modest 23% increase. It appears you can only play so many levels of Candy Crush before going insane.

 

Methodology

For this study, Localytics examined over 30 million sessions across thousands of apps used in the Boston metropolitan area. App usage (defined as number of app sessions) from January 15th to February 15th was used as baseline, and then compared to daily activity. For the second chart, app usage was averaged across the 5 snow days from the previous chart. 

 

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